Author Topic: The last shuttle flight  (Read 4959 times)

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Offline rickl

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The last shuttle flight
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:33:30 AM »
It's launch day for STS-135, the last flight for Atlantis.  I believe it's scheduled for 11:26 AM EDT, last I heard.  The weather looks highly doubtful, but they are still GO at this time.

See NSF.com for the latest info.  That thread is up to 13 pages already!
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 08:13:34 AM by rickl »
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Offline Libertas

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 11:13:47 AM »
11:29 the sent it up.

After this we're earth-locked for who knows how long...
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Offline Dan

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 02:45:22 PM »
I've seen most launches and get choked up... every... single... time... when I consider the courage, brainpower, dedication and the "simple" fact that we can leave this planet almost at will. The space program represents the essence of all human endeavor, I think. Dream it, do it.
And now all we'll be doing is telling barbarians and savages how smart they used to be.
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 06:28:50 PM »
Don't despair.  There are several companies working on a variety of orbital and suborbital vehicles.  We'll be back up there before too long.

Rand Simberg has a couple of articles today, at National Review Online and Popular Mechanics.

The Final Launch
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Today’s launch of the Atlantis was the final launch of any Space Shuttle, after a little over 30 years of space voyages for the program. Its final return to Earth, currently scheduled for July 20, not-so-coincidentally the 42nd anniversary of the first moon landing, will mark the end of an era. But what era will that be?

To listen to many of the hysterical cries a year and a half ago, when the administration abruptly canceled the out-of-control Constellation program — which, had it succeeded on its own terms, would basically have repeated the Apollo missions over half a century later, at horrific cost and years behind schedule — today’s launch marks the end of American human space flight itself. But to think this is to be oblivious to the space industry that is rapidly forming: that of private, for-profit providers operating for private and public purposes. A number of companies are developing systems to deliver passengers to both suborbit and Earth orbit.

6 False Lessons Of The Space Shuttle
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The last space shuttle flight has now launched. And with Atlantis safely in orbit, many are reflecting on the legacy of the shuttle program, which lasted a little over three decades and for much of that time was at the center of America's human spaceflight program. While it was a magnificent technological achievement, and had many great accomplishments, it was a failure in the primary purpose for which it was built: to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space, and make such trips routine and safe. So as NASA heads into an uncertain future, many are drawing lessons from the shuttle experience to apply to policy going forward.

Unfortunately, many of those lessons are false. If they are believed and applied, they will result in human spaceflight, at least as performed by NASA, that remains expensive, unsafe and rare. Here are some of the more important things many people learned from the shuttle program that are just plain wrong:

See also Rand's blog Transterrestrial Musings.  There are several posts and links to other articles.  Note that Rand and most of the commenters are hardcore space buffs, and there is hardly any wailing and gnashing of teeth about the last Shuttle flight.

As I keep saying, "The Space Age is just starting to get interesting."  I mean it.  I think that we are on the verge of developing stunning capabilities which will lead to stunning achievements.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline trapeze

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 07:09:13 PM »
Forget NASA.

They had their chance and, like all things government with few exceptions, they screwed the pooch.

Go SpaceX.
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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 08:30:19 PM »
Sooooo.....

With the US abandoning its role in space exploration does it abdicate its authority over everything extraterrestrial?

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 09:07:22 PM »
Goodbyes are always emotional and bittersweet.  I'm lucky to be old enough to remember Gemini and Apollo, though just a tad too young to remember Mercury.  For those under 35, the Shuttle is all they have known of American human spaceflight.

Leaping Above The Sky One Last Time
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This last launch closes an era in America's human spaceflight program. With some uncertainty in where NASA wants to send humans next, everyone interprets this event differently. Those who wanted NASA to build a large government-led program to return to the Moon (Constellation) to pick up where the shuttle program left off in terms of access to space, see the cancellation of Constellation and the end of the shuttle program as a harbinger of gloomy days ahead. Those who see the flowering of commercial space as a newer, more flexible, and more economic way to access space routinely, see this as simply a paradigm shift.

No two people seem to have exactly the same take. But everyone senses that this is an important moment in NASA's history.

I will wager that prior to today's launch, 90 percent - or more - of the people involved in NASA's human space flight program had not fully processed the blunt reality of what the end of shuttle operations really means. Between today and wheel stop in 12-13 day's time it will start to settle in.

People are being laid off. Others are retiring. Others will show up for work weeks or months from now, sense a sea change, and suddenly decide to depart. When all is said and done the agency will look much different. And I will wager that NASA itself has yet to grasp what this will means in terms of what it wants to do - and what it is able to do.

The last time such a watershed shift in people and direction happened was when Apollo (and Skylab) came to an end. NASA struggled then and it will struggle now.

When I stood in this place 30 years ago the entire shuttle program laid ahead of us. In a matter of days, it will all lie behind us. Echoes of the shuttle program may well continue in the form of NASA's new heavy launch vehicle, buildings, launch pads, and culture. But the orbiters themselves will soon sit in museums.

The retirement of the Space Shuttle can be a punch in the stomach or a kick in the butt for NASA. Which outcome will prevail is uncertain. Much of what NASA is directed to do next is outside of NASA's direct control. However, how its people and extended family respond to these changes and challenges is totally under their control.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline rickl

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We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline Dan

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2011, 11:39:00 PM »
SpaceX will last until gub'mint taxes 'em out of existence.
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 08:55:59 PM »
This made me LOL when I saw it in a comment at Transterrestrial Musings.  My only complaint is that I don't know much about cars, so I can't tell the difference between the two pictured, or even identify them.  It would have been better if the "then" picture was a 1981 Chevette.  I used to own one of those.



We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 08:43:11 AM »
Atlantis is now approaching the ISS in preparation for docking.  It's on NASA TV.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 03:29:35 PM »
Even though I'm aware of the downside to having a federally funded national space program, and how much further along we'd be if space exploration had been in the hands of private enterprise all along, it still gives me a twinge of sadness to see the United States under Hussein Obama grind its space program to a near halt...

...But then I look at the excellent photo editorial posted a couple-up by Rickl, and that twinge goes away. Such a shame when the federal government attempts to commandeer what it has no business being involved in. It's really good at taking initiative, but far, far better at squandering it. We've lost decades in a crucial race to reach out from this earth.
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 04:40:25 PM »

New at 9 - Prince is saving us a bazillion dollars in government investment by shuffling R&D to Russia and China.  Now, when we want to go into space we'll only need pay when we go.  It's like mass transit, just take the bus or highspeed rail; no need to buy a car, no need to trouble with automobile manufacturing.



Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »
Another "Then and Now" photo, of a father and son watching the first and last shuttle launch.  Hat tip Ace of Spades.



Link to article
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2011, 07:13:59 PM »
STS-135 Booster Cam

I don't remember seeing this view before.  Pretty neat.  Hat tip Ace of Spades.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline rickl

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Space Shuttle: The First Voyage
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2011, 10:49:01 PM »
I was looking around for some music on YouTube when I spotted this.  It's live CBS News TV coverage of the first drop test and landing of the shuttle Enterprise on August 12, 1977, complete with commercials.  

To put things in perspective, this was 4 1/2 years after the last moon landing and two years since the last American had flown in space.  And the first launch of Columbia was nearly four years in the future.  In those days, hitching rides from the Russians was not an option.  In terms of American access to space, we were worse off then than now.

You gotta check this out.  It's in two parts:

Space Shuttle Enterprise ALT1 (Part 1)

Space Shuttle Enterprise ALT1 (Part 2)

I remember watching these test flights on TV, along with the space launches of the 60s and 70s.  I'd always wish the TV announcers would shut up so I could listen to the air-to-ground communications.  Even if I didn't always understand what they were talking about, I wanted to hear them rather than the TV guys jabbering away.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 10:43:44 AM by rickl »
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2011, 10:51:34 AM »
I hope those of you who are interested have watched the two videos I linked in my last comment.  There's a great "Back to the Future" moment in Part 1 (you'll know it when you see it), and the commercials are a hoot.

I don't remember Morton Dean being such a douche, but there you go.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Online IronDioPriest

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2011, 11:13:45 AM »
If the government were in charge of photography, there never would have been a point-and-shoot camera like the Polaroid One-Step.

Gotta love the cheesy Star Trek references, John Denver's hair, and Jerry Brown's hair. (Brown is your BTTF moment, I'll bet)
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

Offline rickl

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2011, 11:21:50 AM »
(Brown is your BTTF moment, I'll bet)

I can imagine someone being put into suspended animation in 1977, revived today, and saying, "What?  That dumbsh*t is STILL Governor?"

He would fit right in with the "Then and Now" photos.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

Offline Libertas

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Re: The last shuttle flight
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2011, 05:25:45 PM »
Fred Haise, now there's a name from the past.  Beyond Apollo 13 fame, he would have been Commander of Apollo 19.  Former Marine pilot and he was key in early shuttle action.

 ::thumbsup::

And I thought that was James Garner's voice on the Polaroid commercials.

I'm pretty sure I watched this live...guess I forgot what a blowhard Morton was...he just cannot shut up, can he?

Nostalgia can be fun.
Irrumabo!  GOP? - Nope. No more. They made their bed, now let them die in it.*
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